The South African Government IDP (Integrated Development Plan) 2015-2016, talks in poetic terms about the Sekhukhune area
“Sekhukhune …is also a place of majestic beauty with regal mountains, lush valleys and meandering rivers. Under its soil, lie vast deposits of precious metals – so vast that they today contain the largest reserves of platinum group metals in the world. Above its soil, sprout more than 2200 indigenous species of vascular plants, making it an area of exceptionally high biodiversity that is globally recognized. It is a land blessed by natural beauty, unusual resource endowments and a compelling history dating back to the 16th century.”
The report does not tell you that since the start of mining, the people have lost vast amount of land, their rivers polluted and the mining has polluted the air.
Community monitors in the area, have been documenting in detail the impact of mining on the environment and community life. Here are their posts on air pollution
Mmathapelo Thobejane/ Ditwebeleng village/10/08/2018
It is that time of the year where people with sinus and asthma will suffer because of the wind that is blowing in our communities. This wind caries dust that contains chemicals from the Mine dumps from different mining operations in our area, Platinum, and Chrome is in the area not to mention all our roads dust that is paved by the very same soil.
People in our communities mostly suffer the above mentioned sicknesses because of this bad wind that is blowing in this season. We are surrounded by mining operations and it seems our communities are the dump site of this bad soil. (Externalization) this is what communities benefit from the industries operating in our communities
Elton Thobejane /SCMAC/Morapaneng Village/06/08/2018/Since the construction of the 20km tar road from Ga- Mathule to Hackney shaft of the Twickenham mine via Ga- Mashabela, the quality of air has decreased as a result of multiple construction trucks passing through the Morapaneng access road. The trucks are making unbearable amount of noise and cause dust to rise because they are being driven at high speed .Because of the state of the road they now drive on the side of the road. This pollution is dire and continuous. There are also no enough dust detectors devices installed in the affected communities such as Morapaneng village.
Air pollution caused by Anglo mining dump, the village is 50km away from the mine. Ga-Chaba village in Mokopane Mapela were the community has been residing here for years and never experienced this in the past. Francina Komape an 85-year-old resident suffering from lung disease and complains that Anglo Platinum does not lis
The community of Ga-Makgopa village under Fetakgomo Tubatse municipality in Sekhukhune is living under a strain because of the dust that smells lsavage. The dust is is caused by blasting of an open cast chrome mine of Sefateng which is located at the Makgopa Mountain dividing Ga- Makgopa and Sefateng. This mine is being operating for almost three years now.
The community is facing a lot of difficulties when blasting takes place. People’s lives are in danger, their household, clothes and livestock. Most of community members face challenges of not being able to breathe properly, Those with asthma and sinus are the most challenged. The smell is so bad that no human being can manage to live in such smell for as long as the operation is still taking place.
Living under these circumstances is very bad and disturbing, people’s houses are always not clean because of the dust and the noise of the blasting. They even wonder when and what will happen to them in 10 years to come. The community is wondering what the Department of Minerals is doing about it since they are the ones who issued their mining licences and also witnessing these problems, and also the traditional authority is doing nothing about it.
Tokelo Mahlakoane/Limpopo, Sekutlong/05-05-2018
At Limpopo province in Sekhukhune district under fetakgomo Tubatse local Municipality, In a village called Moshira, there is no proper road, so our government made an effort by doing a gravel road but what is bothering the community is that the government does not monitor their work, now the community is facing a serious dust, day by day, their house don’t look good when they clean
This happen during windy days at Monametse, Fetakgomo/Greater Tubatse municipality Limpopo province. However, the community faced situation of maintenance and care by Bokoni platinum in partnership with Anglo American.This dust is from tailing dam of Bokoni which affects the entire community.
There is nobody to tell because everyone runs away from responsibility and the community benefit only this dust than development.
Monametse village at Limpopo, Fetakgomo/Greater Tubatse municipality Sekhukhune district.
The truck from the company by the name of Batlokwa construction sprays water on the road as a solution to the dust that impacts our communities badly. The water they use has chemicals, what worries me is when it’s windy and dusty the truck goes around the communities.
We do not know how dangerous this is to our lives. The mine management does not allow us to meet them to express ourselves about the impact or either to lay grievances about that. Trying to talk to the mine is like watering the rock with expectations that it will grow. Moreover challenges are growing gradually daily with no response from the mine.
Today as we where introducing social Audits to the community of Monametse I found something terrible on the road, this road is used most by bog trucks that are carrying production from Braamfontein Shaft. This road is being sprinkled with oil. I wondered why the mine uses oil to get rid of dust . I think this makes the matter worse by polluting the soil, and you can ask yourself what will happen if someone throws a stick of matches. I’m still in shock even now. I kept asking my comrades why the soil looks sticky on the ground and when I took a closer look to carefully observe I smelled the oil.
This is a mine ventilation system that is situated right in the middle of the community of Monametse and near a community church. The ventilation system is used to clean out the underground toxic air which is caused by daily blasting activities to allow the mine employees to breathe fresh air. The air is then transferred out of the mine through this system up into the surface exposing the poor citizens to polluted air. With the little knowledge we have we are made to believe that is used to take fresh air downwards the mine shaft but the truth of the matter is when one passes in front of the ventilation system it’s clear that the air is not going but coming out. By Gilbert Moela
Since the mining operations increased in the region of Sekhukhune, especially at Dilokong eastern limp, the level of air pollution has gone up and burning of mountains is becoming a trend. it is really surprising that even during the summer season mountains are still burning.
The quality of air we are breathing is becoming unhealthy day by day. The furnace at Tubatse Samancor is creating so much dust while at the same time emitting cabon way above the threshold contributing to climate change and global warming.
We witnessed white smoke all over the town of Tubatse and the neighbouring villages in the early hours of the morning and I believe this is happening quiet often.
This is dust after blasting in open cast Bokoni Platinum Mine at Klipfontein, Sekhukhune. Dust affects the nearest community of Mokgotho Village and Selepe village especially during the windy period. The Monametse community also affected. The concentration of the blast also cracks some houses.
The community of Monametse in Sekhukhuneland, Limpopo, has the same problem as in Wonderfontein, Mpumlanga as a result of mining operation especially by Braakfontein Shaft. The mine adds a certain chemical on the road.
This is a short story from the people of Monametsane at Atok Sekhukhune region in Limpopo.
During windy weather conditions, air pollution becomes worse, this happens because the dust from the tailing dam blows to our houses. When talking to one lady staying in the community, with a view of getting how she feels, she said they are living in unbearable dusty conditions; this makes them to clean their houses from time to time and each day. The dust is all over the house creates a cleaning burden and I must say it is a hard household job, said the lady who preferred to be anonymous. The lady mentioned that they don’t have a choice, but to cope with the day to day dust posed by the mining activities in the area. After my talk with her, something came to my mind and asked myself this question, What about health risks of this community under this unbearable conditions?